As GOP leading candidates make what many see as anti-Muslim statements and proposals (including patrolling Muslim neighborhoods, immigration bans and the call for Muslim registration), the Muslim-American community is doing what they do best – and are becoming active! Organizations like CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), the Islamic Circle of North America and the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations are encouraging Muslims to make their voices heard at the polls, and are planning to turn local mosques into voter registration centers come November.
“The fear and apprehension in the American Muslim community has never been at this level,” says CAIR spokesperson, Ibrahim Hooper. “The anti-Islamic tidal wave is spurring civic participation.”
Fifteen years ago, Muslim-Americans tended to lean Republican but the Iraq war and the unfortunate backlash after 9-11 changed many attitudes. A recent Pew poll found that 70% of American Muslims now align with the Democratic Party while 11% percent consider themselves Republicans.
“The best answer to this anti-Muslim rhetoric is engagement in the political process,” says Naeem Baig, the president of the Islamic Circle of North America. “It is a matter of survival for the American Muslim community.”